C1836

South Australia. The Port and Town of Adelaide, on the Eastern Coast of St. Vincent's Gulf; from a Drawing by Colonel W. Light, Surveyor General.

Mapmaker:

Colonel William Light (1786 - 1839)

Extremely rare, separately issued map of Adelaide, from present day Glenelg to the Port River, by William Light the ‘founder of Adelaide’. Light spent considerable time on this coast, as he searched for the harbour that had been identified several years … Read Full Description

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S/N: SA-1836-LIGHT-005–188132
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Details

Full Title:

South Australia. The Port and Town of Adelaide, on the Eastern Coast of St. Vincent’s Gulf; from a Drawing by Colonel W. Light, Surveyor General.

Date:

C1836

Mapmaker:

Colonel William Light (1786 - 1839)

Condition:

100mm repaired tear extending from lower sheet edge, 35mm into map area, folds and chips to sheet edges, otherwise in good condition.

Technique:

Hand coloured lithograph.

Image Size: 

355mm 
x 420mm
AUTHENTICITY
South Australia. The Port and Town of Adelaide, on the Eastern Coast of St. Vincent's Gulf; from a Drawing by Colonel W. Light, Surveyor General. - Antique Print from 1836

Genuine antique
dated:

1836

Description:

Extremely rare, separately issued map of Adelaide, from present day Glenelg to the Port River, by William Light the founder of Adelaide’.

Light spent considerable time on this coast, as he searched for the harbour that had been identified several years prior by Captain Jones. Jones’ description however, was misleading and in fact the harbour had already been explored by his men, William Field and William Pullen, 30 September 1836. It would only be after extensive examination of the Gulf St.Vincent, that Light would confirm his favourable opinion of the Port River inlet and decide that the plain inland from Holdfast Bay would be the ideal site for the main settlement of the new colony of South Australia. The chart bears numerous observations about the land and coast.

After having rejected Port Lincoln and Kingscote as possible sites, Light returned to Holdfast Bay and noted in his journal 29 December 1836 ‘Employed nearly all day examining the plain, and looking out for the best situation for the capital. I was delighted with the appearance of the country, and the supply of fresh water we were certain of possessing. I had the pleasure of seeing the Governor and Mr Fisher, and we agreed on going the following day to look at the place I had selected for the capital’. Light and Governor Hindmarsh inspected the site and although Hindmarsh liked what he saw, he stated that it was too far from the harbour. They agreed to move the location by one and a half miles lower down the bank of the river, but after re-examining the area, Light noticed previous evidence of the river having breached its banks.

Although Light had been given total autonomy by the Commissioners in selecting the site, he was undermined by Hindmarsh and his supporters, who saw the distance to the sea as unworkable. In response to correspondence from Hindmarsh, Light called a public meeting to discuss and vote on the matter. The meeting took place in Edward Stephens’s tent at Holdfast Bay, 10 February 1837. The subsequent vote was in favour of Light’s selection so he was able to proceeded to divide the town into 1000 acre allotments, as instructed by the Commissioners. Light resigned from his position in 1838 after being instructed to use faster and less accurate methods for the country surveys. His health soon deteriorated and he died of tuberculosis at the age of fifty-three, 6 October 1839. Light’s surveying of this section of the coast was the first detailed charting since Matthew Flinders’ running survey in 1802. 

By 1829, the printers Day & Haghe had moved from 59 Great Queen Street to 17 Gate Street (imprint on the map) and from the early 1830s the company was often referred to as Day & Haghe and later granted the status of ‘Lithographers to Queen Victoria and to the Queen Dowager, Queen Adelaide‘  in 1837.

 

 

Biography:

Colonel William Light (1786-1839) 

Light was a British military officer and the first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia. He is famous for choosing the site of the colony’s capital, Adelaide, and for designing the layout of its streets and parks. Light was born in Kuala Kedah and lived in Penang until the age of six, when he was sent to England to be educated. He was the illegitimate second son of Captain Francis Light, the Superintendent of Penang, and Martina Rozells, who was of Portuguese or French, and Siamese or Malay descent.

Light resigned from his position in 1838, after refusing to use less accurate surveying methods for country surveys, and formed a private company. In January 1839 the Land and Survey Office, and his adjoining hut burned down, taking some of the colony’s early records and many of Light’s diaries, papers and sketches with it.

Light died of tuberculosis on 6 October 1839 in Adelaide, aged 53.

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